Xiangtangshan Caves Project
The Xiangtangshan Caves Project began in 2004 with collaborative multifaceted research and information gathering—locating sculptures taken from the caves, using old stone inscriptions, historical texts, historical and new photographs of the caves, and conducting video, and 3D scanning work on the caves and their sculptures. The results are archived on the website (see, https://xts.uchicago.edu) and were shown in a traveling exhibition from 2010-2013 (see, exhibition catalog and accompanying book).
The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan are rich in textual content. Many of the caves have engraved inscriptions that include texts from Buddhist scriptures, visitor’s records, and dedicatory inscriptions that document the making of images of Buddhist divinities by donor-worshippers. Unlike the sculptures that are now mostly damaged or removed, the inscriptions are still largely preserved at the two main Northern and Southern groups of caves and a third site at Shuiyusi. Of particular importance, the Cave of the Engraved Scriptures, has entire Buddhist sutras carved between the years of 568 and 572, as recorded in the stele of Northern Qi official Tang Yong.
The engravings and relief carvings are displayed as photographs of rubbings produced with ink on paper. The Center for the Art of East Asia has acquired them through the generosity of Mr. Zhang Lintang, former Director of the Office for Preservation and Managment of the Xiangtangshan Caves, who produced the rubbings and the photographs. These are accompanied by captions in Chinese and English and references to their publication.